Monday, February 23, 2009

Just (Don't) Do It

Stuff my kids collected from the garden.

I'm taking a little break from Flying Girl. Not to worry. I actually am in the middle of one right now, but I need another session with it to finish, and I am making the conscious decision to not do it. Not today during nap time, any way. I've decided to not rush it so I have it to post.

Instead, I want to talk about choosing to not do.

I'm not talking about laziness, here, or procrastination, I'm talking about making the positive choice to just. not. do.

That novel? Why don't we just admit it and say, "I am not going to do my novel today. I am choosing to not do it." Use our time elsewhere-- bake a cake or teach yourself guitar. Do NOT guilt ourselves all day, beating ourselves about the heads and shoulders with all the things we think we SHOULD do.

I don't believe in shoulds. They just make us feel worse about ouselves and send us into a death spiral. Phhht. We don't need.

What we need is positive action. Positive choice. I am positively choosing to not paint this afternoon.

It isn't a contradiction. Life is full of choices. Whenever we choose to do one thing, we choose to let go another, if only for the moment. Even when we multitask, we choose to let go of the focus we might have if we did only one thing. So why not just admit that we are making a choice, instead of pretending we aren't, pretending we'll get around to it?

What that means is that I will not be avoiding my painting tonight out of guilt. What that means is I will not let the stress eat at me, ruining my day and possibly anything else I might get done today. What that means is I will not waste my day thinking I should paint, but leaving no room for anything else in my indecision. Because, today, instead of painting, I am going to go up to my desk and write for an hour... something I really have been avoiding.

Instead of saying I will write and busying myself with something else, like, say painting, I will just go write. No shoulds there, either. Just a choice. I've realized I can't do everything at once, so this nap time, I am choosing writing over painting. And I'm going to pack up all the other shoulds on my list, and put them away until I write for my allotted time.

When I'm done, then I'll re-evaluate my to do list and see what else I can choose not to do for the rest of nap time.

What can you choose not to do? What space does that open up for your day?


Kate Lord Brown said...

Great post Rowena - that's it isn't it, recognising you have a choice. I was reading last night: ask yourself what you want. Then ask yourself (your deep, true self) - what it is you REALLY want. May be two completely different answers.

septembermom said...

It's a good idea to try and get off the roller coaster and step back to reassess the to do list. In those quiet times, a new resurgence of creativity will hopefully spark the next project.

Genie Sea said...

Indeed! Choosing not to do is very liberating. Guilt, ain't. :)

Anonymous said...

I have such a problem saying no. I need to print this out and use it like a mantra to reinforce the idea that I have to give to me by sometimes saying no to others.
Thanks for this.

Angela said...

I found this post so inspiring! I'm often thinking I should be doing this and that, and never really relax to do the task at hand! Thank you so much for the wonderful decision of choosing not to do something today, while I focus on something else, and not feel guilty! I can't wait to try that, Thank You!

Angela :)

BoricuaChola said...

I agree. Sometimes we do too much. It's also healthy for the creative and spiritual self to allow ourselves to breathe! Pa'lante, Siempre Pa'lante.


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